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Better Business Bureau Defends Yelp

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Better Business Bureau Defends Yelp
[ Business]

Rarely does a week go by these days in which there isn’t at least one report of business owners complaining about Yelp’s business practices. The latest one comes from an ABC affiliate out of Philadelphia, which conducted an investigation of its own.

Has your business had a legitimate gripe with Yelp? Let us know in the comments.

It says it was contacted by small business owners saying their favorable reviews were reduced because they wouldn’t pay Yelp to advertise. You know the story by now, I’m sure. This particular version comes from a Pizza place accusing Yelp of filtering positive reviews and lowering its rating after it refused to pay for ads. You can get the specific complaints here, but it’s essentially the same same story we hear time and time again.

Yelp always dismisses these accusations as conspiracy theories, and maintains that they’re simply not true, yet they just keep coming.

This particular report includes some words from the Better Business Bureau on the situation. Here’s the relevant snippet:

Better Business Bureau records show in the past 6 months over 50 complaints have been filed about what business owners call aggressive advertising practices.In the same time, over 100 businesses have complained about Yelp filtering out positive reviews.

“There are probably a lot more. There are probably 500, 1000 businesses out there that feel this has happened to them,” Gene O’Neill of the BBB said.

However, the Better Business Bureau tells Action News after investigating it doesn’t feel aggressive advertising is a part of Yelp’s business model and currently gives the review site an A+ rating.

You can see that A+ rating right here. Factors listed as the reason for the rating include:

  • Length of time business has been operating.
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size.
  • Response to 1404 complaint(s) filed against business.
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.
  • BBB has sufficient background information on this business.

It does list 1,404 closed complaints for Yelp from over the last three years with over 500 of them listed as advertising/sales issues. 882 are listed as problems with the product/service. 570 of the total complaints were closed in the last twelve months.

The most recent review of Yelp’s complaints was done in April 2014, according to the site.

“Complaints concern, among other things, business owners who are concerned that their positive reviews are being filtered and negative reviews are remaining, potentially giving consumers a skewed view of their business,” it says. “Some complaints also concern business owners alleging that there are false or inaccurate reviews on their Yelp listing that Yelp will not remove, though the business owner has provided proof or substantiation that the review is false or inaccurate.”

Last month, the FTC disclosed that there had been 2,046 complaints filed against Yelp dating from 2008 to March 4th, 2014.

Yelp released its first quarter numbers last week, with an impressive 66% year-over-year increase in revenue, though the company still struggles in the profit department.

During Yelp’s earnings call, CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said that as the company grows internationally, it sees complaints in other markets as well, with a specific “uptick in noise” in Germany.

Do you agree with the BBB’s rating for Yelp? Let us know in the comments.

Image via Yelp

Better Business Bureau Defends Yelp
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